1TB Fusion or 256GB with external storage later?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Moccasin, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Moccasin macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    #1
    I am struggling to decide how to configure the 21" iMac I am ready to buy.

    I had decided on Fusion Drive and leaving the RAM at 8GB, even knowing I can't upgrade later. I now wonder whether I would be better getting a 256GB SSD instead and getting an external drive to hook up via USB.

    Would I notice the difference? I'm likely to be using Aperture (iPhoto initially) but not taxing it too much - general management of prosumer DSLR photos and minor image processing but not heavy image manipulation.

    I may use Windows occasionally through bootcamp but can't see me getting Parallels.

    I'm struggling to justify buying a desktop as it is, so upgrading storage and RAM is pushing it, but my 2010 MBA is full and unsuitable for lots of photo work.

    On that basis, maybe I'm talking myself into upgrading the base model storage and not going for the discrete graphics of the better 21" model! I had assumed though that the 1GB GT 750M was a worthy upgrade for £150.

    Advice appreciated.
     
  2. whistler222 macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I've read that there is a noticeable difference between the Fusion and the true SSD. External storage is cheap.. internal can't be upgraded..
    so i went with 256 ssd, and got some external storage..
    (also left RAM at 8, but getting 32 from owc)..
     
  3. ChrisA, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013

    ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3

    An Apperture photo library thats holds many RAW format images from a dSLR is not going to fit into internal storage. You are going to need to buy some external drives. Buy one for the library, a much larger one for Time Machne and then a couple drives for backup.

    The SSD is very fast. Use that as your system drives and the fastest external you can afford for the Aperture library. The Time Machine and other backup drives can be slower and cheaper WD "Green Drives".
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    Yes I have a MBP and my daughter a MBP with Retina. The Retnit macbook is 100% flash based. Mine has a conventional hard drive. The CPU speeds are comparable. The Retina boots nearly instantly and does file copies near instantly. She uses it for editing video, the files are large, 300MB and it is very fast. The only problem with SSD is the cost a 512GB or 1TB SSD is still expensive

    However the iMac is faster for transcoding and imports in FCPX because the iMac is a four ore and the retnia macbook is a dual care.
     
  5. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    #5
    I had planned to go with a 3TB Fusion drive, but with the size of my media library, I decided to go with the 256GB SSD and a Drobo 5D connected via Thunderbolt.
     
  6. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    #6
    Thanks, that makes sense. I already had to split my iPhoto library so that my older photos are on an external drive though I've only moved to RAW fairly recently.

    Presumambly, iTunes is best on the external drive as well, although I may well leave it on my SSD for now as it's not that big yet and I haven't got round to ripping DVDs yet.
     
  7. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    #7
    I was going to do 3 TB Fusion.. went with the 500 GB SSD.. don't regret it a bit. Using less than 100 GB on the SSD and my new external drive still had 1.74 GB left on it!
     
  8. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #8
    I think i will go with 256gb ssd, and usb3 external for now
    Once TB2 prices drop from the stratospherically inflated prices by intel greed
    I would consider a 4TB raid setup in raid0 - x2 2TB
     
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #9
    Does your Mac support TB2?

    If I were in your shoes, I would consider RAM as important and consider getting the most I can afford and start with the Fusion drive and later add external drives as needed.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    Fusion read/write: 520/350 MB/s
    Pure SSD read/write: 750/650 MB/s
     
  11. propower macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    The cost for external Thunderbolt storage is very high right now. If you consider the cost difference from 256 internal to 1TB internal it is $800. You will be HARD pressed to add anywhere close to 750GB SSD for that price (with a thunderbolt solution) and it will never be as fast as the internal. If I would have seen this clearly I would have gotten at least the 512G if not the 1TB option and done a couple of partitions. As it is - I am into a $500 to $600 case for adding 4 external TB hard drives!

    If one is OK with it USB3 is pretty darned fast and super cheap for cases
     
  12. TyPod macrumors 68000

    TyPod

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    #12
    Another one here for going SSD internally.You can find some really nice USB 3.0 external drives cheap.
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #13
    I disagree. The Buffalo HD-PA1.0TU3 1TB Thunderbolt drive can be had for USD220 in my country. And it's decent, with read/writes of 105-110 MB/s.
     
  14. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    #14
    Is that an average across the whole drive or specific to the SSD element of the Fusion?

    Given that I may need Windows and that (I read on here somewhere) won't install onto the SSD area of the Fusion, Windows performance would presumably be quite slow.

    Any view on whether the graphics of the base 21" is good enough for Aperture? Would I notice the difference in combination with the lower speed processor?
     
  15. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #15
    It's for the entire Fusion, as produced via Blackmagic tests.

    Windows will only install to the HDD section of Fusion.

    For light aperture usage, Iris is sufficient. But if you want to future proof your Mac for the next few years, get an i7 (because it has 8 threads. I5s only have 4) and an Nvidia GT750M.

    Most people will say 8GB of RAM is enough, but I find that I always run out of memory on just 8GB, especially with a VM running in the background.
     
  16. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    #16
    Hmm you've just bumped the cost up somewhat!
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #17
    Where did you read that? The only time you will notice a speed difference is when people doing benchmarks work hard to demonstrate speed differences. In real life, you get the same speed with Fusion. Plus you have tons more storage, so when you _do_ go to external storage, you will have a massive speed hit that you don't get with Fusion.

    ----------

    You realise that the 3TB fusion has a 128 GB SSD drive, so you would have more data on the fast SSD, plus you would have _a lot_ more data that actually uses the SSD speed on the fast SSD, plus you'd have a lot more space left and no external drive to worry about?

    ----------

    And with Fusion you don't have to worry about it. No splitting your iPhoto library, because the photos you don't look at are on the external drive - and if you suddenly get nostalgic and look at your 2005 holiday photos again and again, they get moved to SSD without you having to do anything.
     
  18. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    #18
    Problem would be when my library exceeds 1TB, which it is bound to do over the machine's lifetime. The 21" iMac doesn't have 3TB Fusion as an option. So I'd either have to have the whole thing on an external drive or else still have split libraries.
     
  19. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    #19
    Given that another thread on here highlighted that the 21" model's Fusion drive seems to have the same 5400rpm HDD as the base model, I think SSD is the way to go.
     
  20. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #20
    I have a caviar black 2tb, in a usb3 /firewire 800 enclosure atm, and i get sustained writes of 125mb/s
     
  21. minimalism macrumors member

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    #21
    Hard Drives are more prone to be damaged than Flash. Fusion is the best of both worlds but still has to spin at 5400 rpm which creates noise and heat.

    I opted for the SSD since I don't store my media internally. External drives are dirty cheap now and you can even create a cloud storage of your own.
     
  22. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I had the exact same reasoning and got the 256 GB SSD. I added two 3 TB thunderbolt drives I got for a good price.
     
  23. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #23
    Late 2013 27" iMacs have 7200rpm HDDs. I have the 1TB Fusion Drive and no issues with either noise (next to silent compared to the Late 2009 iMac I replaced) or heat.

    I store a vast majority of my media externally as well but appreciate the 1TB internal space. I am very pleased with the Fusion Drive.
     
  24. minimalism macrumors member

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    #24
    I have nothing against Fusion Drive at all. I would have done the same for space and speed. Sadly, I don't need that much space for my internal drive, thus SSD. I once experienced internal hard disk failure, so I now often store all my files externally.
     
  25. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #25
    I've got nothing against the pure 256GB SSD solution either. It's all about your personal needs.

    256GB internal storage wasn't enough for me and the 512GB SSD was entirely out of my budget. I absolutely wanted the speed of SSD so the Fusion Drive was the best choice for me.

    As is mentioned in a similar thread on this debate, the failure rate of SSD vs HDD turns out to be much closer than most people think, moving parts or not. It's just that SSD is a far newer technology.
     

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